Out of the Depths - By Pamela Hearon Page 0,1

parent. One who cared enough to kick their asses if they acted stupid.

Then again, those kids at the cave would probably kick back. Kids were different now. He smiled at the memory of Old Man Turner showing up with a gun and running Kyndal and him off of his property. One look down the barrel of that shotgun made sure they wouldn’t be back.

If Old Man Turner were still alive, Chance would hire him as a guard for a month or two. But he doubted that tactic would work on these kids. They weren’t nearly as naive as he and Kyndal had been.

Kyndal Rawlings. At one time, he’d thought the two of them would be together forever. Now that was naive. Their separate ways had turned out to be in entirely different directions. She hadn’t gone to law school the way she’d always planned…had become a photographer, of all things—working for some damn liberal environmentalist website. Of course, she did stage that sit-in against hot dogs in the high school cafeteria claiming they were made from throwaway parts, so maybe the clues were there all along, and he was just too smitten to see them.

He hadn’t thought about Kyndal in a while. In fact, he’d pretty much refused to let himself think about her since they’d split. When he did, guilt still gnawed at him. Breaking up with her had been almost as hard as losing Hank, but it was the right thing to do, damn it. That was obvious now. He would never have made it through college and law school if they’d stayed joined at the hip. Every class together was unhealthy, but Kyn couldn’t loosen her hold. She demanded his total attention.

Just as his career did now.

If he wanted a judgeship by the time he turned forty, there was little room for dating.

But someday, the right woman would come along. Someone goal-oriented. Career focused. Someone with an impeccable reputation and a drive to match his own. A few connections to sweeten the deal wouldn’t be a bad thing, either.

He’d straightened the scattered papers and had switched off the desk lamp when the intercom buzzed again, startling him, ratcheting up his wish to sledgehammer the damn thing.

“Chance?” His dad’s voice boomed over the line.

“Yeah, Dad?”

“Good. I was afraid you’d left already. Your mom just called. The travel agent got us on an earlier flight Sunday morning. Can you get those briefs to me tomorrow?”

“Okay. I’ll finish them up tonight.” As if he had a choice. His parents’ first trip away together in years. Only three days, but it was a start. He switched the lamp back on.

“And I want you to take this new Farley case. Look over it. We’ll discuss it first thing Wednesday morning.”

“I’ll be ready.”

“Seeing Denise this weekend?”


“You’re a fool. Someone’s going to snatch her up.”

“If I’m lucky.” Denise Macomb was the flavor-of-the-month his dad was trying to cram down his throat. She met all the criteria, but her voice sounded like a violin badly played.

“Get those briefs done,” his dad said by way of parting.

Chance watched the intercom light switch off. “You have a life, Brennan.” He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “And this is it.”

* * *

SNAP…SNAP…SNAP. Three good shots before the tiny bottom lip started to pucker again.

Thank you, Lord, for digital cameras and comfortable shoes. Kyndal’s third straight day of twelve-hour shifts was almost over.

“I think we got her.” She smiled at the young couple hovering nearby, only now truly noticing them.

The young man’s shirt had Ted’s Car Wash stamped on the pocket. His zit-covered face suggested he couldn’t be much more than seventeen. A chunky high school ring hung from a chain around the girl’s neck.

Kyndal sized them up, knew immediately they were here for the free 8x10 and wouldn’t be able to afford any of the great package deals Shop-a-Lot offered at a bargain price of $29.95.

She watched the way they handled the infant so carefully, saw the pride shining in the boy’s eyes as he kissed his baby girl and his baby girlfriend on their foreheads. How long before he’d be out of this picture?

“Come over here and you can see the shots.” Kyndal swiveled the freestanding monitor to face the couple.

The best part of this job was getting to see the parents’ eyes when the portraits clicked on. Without exception, they all softened instantly. If only she could capture that moment on film, those images would be priceless.

The shots were better than good, and